How to Remove Password Protection from Excel Spreadsheet

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Excel is undoubtedly one of the most important tools of the modern workplace. It helps businesses keep track of their financials, enables bankers to manage their portfolio, and allows statisticians and data scientists to collect and analyze data, just to mention a few of its uses. However, some people and institutions put password protection on their Excel spreadsheets to keep them secure from unwanted access. For genuine reasons, you might forget the said password or get access to a password-protected sheet with an unknown password. In this blog post, we’ll show you various methods to remove password protection from Excel spreadsheets, so you can access them once again.

Video Tutorial:

Why You Need to Remove Password Protection from Excel Spreadsheet

Imagine working on a vital project on an Excel spreadsheet that is password-protected, and then you forget the password. That will cause a lot of unnecessary anxiety and halt your progress, costing you time, money, and possibly your job. Removing password protection from an Excel spreadsheet is, therefore, not only a useful skill but also a necessary one for anyone seeking to circumvent the said protection.

Method 1: Using ZIP Software

If you are a bit tech-savvy, you can remove password protection from an Excel spreadsheet by utilizing the ZIP (or WinRAR) file archive software that comes pre-installed on your computer. Here’s how:

1. Rename the file: Locate and right-click on the Excel file whose password you wish to remove. Next, select “Rename” and replace the “.xlsx” extension with “.zip.”
2. Open the ZIP file: Double-click on the renamed file, which should now be a ZIP file, to open it.
3. Locate the “xl” folder: With the ZIP file open, locate and open the “xl” folder.
4. Open the “worksheets” subfolder: Under the “xl” folder, open the “worksheets” subfolder.
5. Open the sheet: With the “sheets” subfolder open, locate the XML file representing the reference sheet and double-click on it to open the file using Notepad.
6. Find the string: In the Notepad window, look for the following string of characters without quotes ““.
7. Save and close Notepad: After deleting the string “sheetProtection” and everything that comes with it hit “Ctrl+S” to save the changes you made to the XML file.
8. Reconfigure the ZIP file: Locate the folder containing the XML file, right-click on it, and select “Add to archive.” Zip the file and rename it to “Filename.xlsx.”


– It is an effortless method that doesn’t require any external program.
– You do not need to have extensive technical knowledge to pull this method off.


– The method will only work if the file is an “XLSX” file type.
– You need to be cautions, making an error when editing the XML file can potentially corrupt the whole ZIP file.

Method 2: Using VBA Code

If the first method doesn’t work for your Excel spreadsheet, this one will typically remove the password so you can access the file. Here are the step-by-step instructions to do it with VBA code:

1. Open Excel and open the password-protected file.
2. Click on “File” and select “Options.”
3. Select the “Customize Ribbon” option from the left, and check the box beside “Developer” under the “Main Tabs.”
4. Activate the Developer tab by clicking it from the top navigation bar.
5. Once you have the Developer tab activated, click on “Visual Basic” to open the system of the code editor.
6. Go to “Insert” and select “Module” to add a new module.
7. Paste the code (find it online) that will remove the password and hit “F5” or “Run” to run it.


– Although it’s complex, you’ll ultimately be provided with a safe and easy method to do the job.
– It works on any Excel file as long as it doesn’t have a VBA project, which is an unlikely scenario for most businesses.


– It could be unintentionally used to inject hazardous malware into your computer and network infrastructure carelessly
– Inserting trust in the VBA code from the internet

Method 3: Using Online Tools

If you’re not the tech-savvy type and don’t have Excel or ZIP software readily available on your device, various online tools can convert your password-protected Excel file into an unprotected one. Here’s how:

1. Go online and search for “Excel Password Remover” or a similar term.
2. Choose any of the tools suggested, visit that website, and select the Password-protected Excel file you want to decrypt.
3. Follow the on-screen prompts that typically require you to share your email address to receive the viral-free version of the Excel file via email.


– It’s a quicker and more convenient way to access your file as you don’t need to install or download any software.
– You don’t need any technical skill as the tools guide you through the system.


– It poses privacy and safety threats as these online tools would require you to, to some extent, share your information with them.
– You need a stable internet connection to access and use online tools.

What to Do If You Can’t Remove Password Protection from Excel

In some dreadful scenarios, none of the above methods might work to remove password protection from an Excel file. What do you do? Here are the following solutions:
– Use a third-party password recovery tool.
– Guest the password or try various possible passwords until you gain access to the file.
– Recreate the file by data-analysis or data-entry, assuming that the data as its source is not lost.

Bonus Tip

Always keep a backup copy of your Excel file with its password. You can save a copy without the protection every time you need to make changes, save these changes, and then save a copy with the password once again.

5 FAQs


Is there a way to remove password protection from an Excel file using an online tool without downloading it?


There’s no way to remove password protection from an Excel file without downloading it. Online tools will enable you to bypass or convert your file and present it to you as a new, unprotected one.


Can all Excel files be decrypted using the above methods?


The methods presented here work on most XLS and XLSX files. However, in rare cases, some advanced level password protection and encryptions would require you to use advanced decryption methods.


What are the benefits of protecting Excel files with passwords?


Password protection helps ensure that only authorized personnel can access sensitive financial and company information.


Can you change your Excel file’s password after removing the current one?


Yes, you can change your Excel file’s password after removing the current one. To do so, open the file, click the “File” tab, and select “Info.” Under “Protect Workbook,” select “Encrypt with Password” and type a new password for the file.


Do you need to know the old password of your Excel file to remove its password protection?


No, you don’t need to know the old password to remove password protection from an Excel file. All you require is a valid method of password removal.

Final Thoughts

In this blog post, we’ve explored methods to remove password protection from Excel spreadsheets. The methods we’ve discussed are safe, reliable, and have been tried and tested. You can choose the one that’s most convenient and suitable for you. However, we understand situations could arise where nothing seems to work, but the bonus tip and the recommended solutions above will alleviate your eventual frustration. Finally, we cannot overemphasize the importance of protecting sensitive information by using passwords.